From the Periphery
consists of more than 30 first-person narratives of everyday people who describe what it's like to be treated differently by society because of their disabilities. The stories are raw and painful, but also surprisingly funny and deeply inspiring. The oral histories describe anger, independence, bigotry, solidarity and love—in the family, at school and at the workplace. Inspired by the oral historians Studs Terkel and Svetlana Alexievich, From the Periphery will become a classic oral history collection that will increase the understanding of the lived experiences of people with disabilities, their responses to oppression and their coping strategies. Readers will meet Andre, who felt different as a child because she was blind. Her father insisted that she could ride a bike, but neighborhood kids would still ask, "Can I catch what you have?" Marca Bristo acquired her disability after a diving accident and became invisible as a person. Men would only see her wheelchair and she started doubting her sexuality. Curtis Harris was treated like a piece of meat in school. He has come to accept autism as part of his personality: "You are who you are. . . . You reject normalism.”
Pia Justesen, PhD, is a Danish human rights lawyer, professor and writer who moved to the United States in 2014. She started living in Wilmette but later moved to downtown Evanston. In Chicago she has taught disability rights at the University of Illinois and worked with the independent living organization Access Living. In Denmark she also worked as a corporate social responsibility advisor and a labor union lawyer. Pia currently splits her time between Evanston, Chicago and Copenhagen.
is one of the oral historians who contributed to From the Periphery with her narrative. She is an attorney on Access Living’s civil rights team.